I remember thinking that it would be in New York and sponsored by Cable Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, but Howard said, "Come over here." In his off ice he had these paintings on the wall by his wife. He pointed to a little one of a villa overlooking Lake Como and said, "Let's have it here." 15
The Bellagio Conference was held in May 1977 at the Rockefeller Foundation's conference center in Bellagio, Italy, and included Chloe Aaron of PBS, Eugene Katt of CPB, Fred Barzyk, Sergio Borelli, Russell Connor, James Day, producers from French, Belgian, German, Danish, and Italian television, and artists Nam June Paik and Bill Viola (then a young upstart who was invited to attend when there was an open space and he was already in the country). It resulted in a report and a plan for the first INPUT conference. Klein reiterated in his introduction to the conference report his belief that "television is uniquely capable of increasing understanding among the peoples of the world, bringing viewers the arts and entertainment's of other lands and documenting daily life abroad.... Yet the international exchange of material that is, in the broadest sense, 'cultural' remains quite limited." 16 The belief that the dominance of world screens by commercial U.S. programming needed to be replaced by a more equal exchange, with more work by independents and artists, pervaded the Bellagio conference report, and the politics of the formative years of INPUT displayed the need for Americans to look more closely at the European television community. Klein recalls:
One of the difficulties that we had in the early struggles of keeping INPUT together was the international relations from our side. We were the bad guys. The reason they made me president, I am convinced, was because Rockefeller was neutral. They could not allow CPB or PBS to be head of it; they had to get the one person in the room who didn't belong to an organization and that was me.
James Day, former president of KQED and WNET and a professor at Brooklyn
College, comments that Klein was a "kind of guiding spirit in his approach
to INPUT. He needed a lot of patience. These were hard gatherings because
of the cultural variety."17
It is a producers' conference. The value of it is that producers usually never get to talk to other producers about the decisions that they make. "When you made this documentary on nuclear disarmament, why didn't you interview so-and-so?" This is what the Europeans say. The Americans all talk about money.
As it has expanded and been attended by a larger spectrum of producers and stations (attendance rose from 200 in 1978 to 700 in 1986) with annual conferences in different countries, INPUT has necessarily become less discussion oriented, but Klein emphasizes
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